Weekly Picks: Malaysia (7–13 May 2018)

By Lainie Yeoh


GE14 Results Night at Merdekarya 9 May, 5pm until all GE14 results are announced

Things get inevitably political this week as Malaysia holds its 14th General Election. Merdekarya will be making an event out of it, with live crowdsourced GE14 results and election-night shenanigans. There’ll be a big screen scoreboard, and free (likely dubious) tarot card readings from Uncle Undi. Voters can show their inked finger to redeem a free tuak cocktail, and all are invited to celebrate or drown your sorrows together in this independent music space and home of regular open mics.

More info here.

Hanyut Special Showcase at The Bee, May 11, 8pm

Indie music darlings The Impatient Sisters will be premiering their latest music video, Hanyut, and performing alongside Kita:Orang and Battle Bloom. There is a cover charge of RM50. While you’re in Publika, you should also make time to visit the gallery nearby for “arkologi:gelap” (see the next listing).

More info here.

arkologi:gelap at Artemis Art Gallery, 13 Apr–13 May

This is young artist Ajim Juxta’s fourth solo exhibition, curated by Sharmin Parameswaran. He is also notably the first Malaysian visual artist to win the Young Art Award in the annual Young Art Taipei art fair in Taiwan, for his artwork Arcology: Convergence. This exhibition further expands upon Ajim’s Arcology series of artworks, along with Penghuni Distopia (Dystopians) and Tugu (Monument) paintings. It’s a dark look at a future overrun by development and negative human impact on the environment. Considering urban (over)development is a touchy election issue in some electoral constituencies, this exhibition is timely.

More info on exhibition and gallery opening times here.

Tarakucha Unplugged at BoboKL, 11 & 12 May, 9:30pm

Something to lift the spirits after all the politics? BoboKL is a cosy space and Tarakucha fills it with cheeky, raucous fun and big music. Tarakucha’s big band usually doesn’t even fit on the stage, there are so many members. This time, they’re scaling back in size and going unplugged, but you can expect more of the same goodness: vintage Malaysian music given a contemporary twist and served with naughty humour. Sean Ghazi and Ida Mariana take the stage with Hady Afro, Amar Azalan and AKZ. As they promise: “Band tak BIG, tapi tetap BOOMZ!”

Cover charge is RM60++ (RM45++ for diners). Space is limited in Bobo. If you’re keen, reservations are 100000% recommended (contact 03 2092 5002). Best enjoyed with friends, and a drink in hand. More info here.


Radiant Representations: Japanese Visual Propaganda And The Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere at Malaysia Design Archive, 12 May, 11am–1pm

If you’re a nerd, Malaysia Design Archive is the best spot in town to learn something new and possibly esoteric. How did Japanese visual propaganda during the occupation of Malaya communicate the ideological principles that informed Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere as a region? This talk presents a selection of covers from propaganda magazines titled Taiyo (太陽), recovered from Malaysian and Singapore archives. Speaker Kevin Chan considers how we can read the expectations of feminine ideal and female subjectivity through the visual representation of women and the female body.

Presented by the Visual Art Program, Cultural Centre, University of Malaya in collaboration with Malaysia Design Archive. No entry fee, but there’s usually a donation box in the room if you’re keen to support MDA and future events. More info here.

Writing The Modern  at EDU National Art Gallery, 12 May 2pm

The book launch of Writing The Modern by eminent art historian, critic and curator TK Sabapathy. The author will be making a speech. A good opportunity to be amongst the first in KL to get an autographed copy of the book. RSVP by 10 May.

Art For Grabs at The School, Jaya One, 12–13 May

Everyone’s favourite art and activism bazaar will leave you poorer in wealth but richer in spirit, knowledge, and hopefully, some lovely handmade crafts. 60 booths dedicated to NGOs, art, crafts, books and more — it’s a good time to catch booths like zine distro Biawak Gemok, indigenous crafts from Gerai OA, and handmade bags from the Penan weavers. This edition’s theme covers both Mother’s Day and a look at our motherland after the general election. Expect the forum Fight Like A Mom: Celebrating Activist Mothers to get lively. Programme is available here.

Games and Politics at Lostgens’ Contemporary Art Space, 5-20 May (closed 9 May), 1–10pm

The Malaysian stop for an interactive exhibition that has been touring worldwide, you can experience 18 significant and politically-ambiguous video games here. The games cover a range of political and social topics, and players can explore the impact of their decisions as they try to win elections, deal with precarious labour conditions and the treatment of refugees, confront the surveillance state and more. You’ll often by playing a marginalised character with limited options and trying circumstances.

There are accompanying short documentaries and exhibition catalogue, alongside several programmes during the exhibition. A panel will discuss Impact of Video Games on Society & Game Developments in Malaysia, 12th May 4pm. More information here.

ps: Lostgens is a bit of a climb up the staircase, you may as well continue to head up to the rooftop after you’re done to see if anyone is in artist-run space Moutou.

Note: All information is correct at the time of publication. Please confirm directly with the organisers/event websites. ArtsEquator is not responsible for any changes to the schedule of events. If you have an event you’d like us to highlight, please email events[at]artsequator.com.


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